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Mali court jails professor for criticizing government

Mali court jails professor for criticizing government

Economist Etienne Fakaba Sissoko has been sentenced to two years in prison, with one year suspended, by a court in Mali for criticizing the military junta in his book. Sissoko’s lawyer, Ibrahim Marhouf Sacko, has announced plans to appeal the verdict.

Sissoko, a professor at the University of Bamako, was charged with harming the state’s reputation, defamation, and spreading misinformation for his 2023 book on government communication during Mali’s transition. The book scrutinizes the military government’s use of propaganda, manipulation, and lies to shape public opinion during the transition to civilian rule.

During the May 6 hearing, Sissoko defended his work, citing factual evidence and expert analysis. This is not his first encounter with authorities, as he previously spent time in jail in 2022 for openly criticizing the government on various issues.

Sissoko’s lawyer suggests that his recent imprisonment was triggered by his commentary on the economic impact of sanctions imposed on Mali by neighboring West African nations. Mali has been facing political and security instability since 2012, dealing with attacks from insurgents, armed groups, and a separatist movement in the north.

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